Kimmirut-Iqaluit road would avoid Katannalik

Consultant says Soper River valley “not a very attractive route”


A proposed Kimmirut-Iqaluit road would not pass through Katannalik territorial park, an engineering consultant working for the Nunavut government said last week.

“It’s not a very attractive route because it is a park. It’s one of the restrictions on any road route in that area,” Tony Wachmann of SNC-Lavalin said in an interview.

The department of community government and transportation contracted Wachmann’s firm to produce a preliminary study looking into the possibility of a road linking Iqaluit to a deep-water port that would be built at Kimmirut.

Last month, the City of Iqaluit’s economic development committee wrote a blistering letter to Wachmann, saying they’re adamantly opposed to an Iqaluit-Kimmirut road – partly in the belief that such a road would destroy Katannalik Park.

The park’s principle feature is the sheltered Soper River valley. Governments and tourism operators have promoted it as an adventure travel destination for more than 10 years.

Wachmann, however, says that any road route would avoid Katannalik.

He did say, though, that his study looks at “three or four or five potential different routes.” The Iqaluit end would connect with existing roads near the Iqaluit airport.

He added that Lavalin’s document is not a “feasibility” study.

“We call it a conceptual scoping study,” Wachmann said. “It’s to give an idea of the potential of the project. It’s not an in-depth review. It’s based on existing information.”

That includes aerial photographs, topographic maps and satellite imagery, Wachmann said.

But it will include a rough estimate of the cost.

Although Wachmann didn’t offer any dollar figures, it’s expected that an Iqaluit-Kimmirut road would cost hundreds of millions of dollars.

The length of such a road would be about 160 kilometres, but would vary depending on the route.

Wachmann said Lavalin’s study, still in draft form, has been submitted to the GN.

After GN bureaucrats fine-tune that work, it will be up to Peter Kilabuk, CG&T’s new minister, to decide when and how to release the document.

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